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xmag.com : October 2003: Back to School?

Well kids, October is here and that means school will be starting up again. As I kiss my summer contingent of piggish beer-swilling college trollops goodbye, I realize that unless I join Frank in combing the downtown streets for wayward high-school urchinettes, I'll be forced to rejoin Portland's incestuous singles scene. Everybody I know has fucked everybody I know, and I'm loath to climb back onto the sexual Mobius strip.
I was thinking back to my own carefree college days recently. Even back then the campus was no Elysian field of virginal co-eds who smelled of rose petals. Pregnancies and the rude awakening of that first painful burning with the morning's urination were common among my classmates. Since I was the requisite campus pre-med nerd, I was privy to many of these disasters. True, I never got laid, but I did learn how to make meth in my organic chemistry class--but that's another story.
In retrospect, however, I realize that while part of the fun was tormenting friends after a night of snuggling with Itchy the ugly campus floozie, many of them could have been well-served by a short talk about the kinds of foul things that infested the human Petri-dishes they were dipsticking. At my school most guys focused on rugby rather than the technical mastery and operation of the condom. And it caused a lot of grief.
Dark thoughts of STD's weighed heavily on my mind one particularly dark night this summer and I decided that it would be a good idea to put together a basic primer on some of the more horrid diseases that parties share when making the beast with two backs. Now all of you Gen-Xers, Gen-Ys, rich-kids-playing-hippies and other hipster-pukes need to pay attention. There are no grades being given on this material; it is pass/fail. I also know that only half of you will read the course material prior to the first time you piss fire and pus, knock up some tawdry bar whore, or find a herpes blister on your gear, so don't say I didn't warn you.
I'll concentrate on the biggies. For an added bonus, you can see which celebrities are afflicted. It adds an aspect of shabby nobility and coolness to these diseases if you share them with a famous person, I suppose.
HIV: aka "Big Nasty"
After a decade of decline, HIV infections are on the rise again. Joy. Didn't you dumbfucks take it seriously the first time around?
HIV is transmitted via blood and body fluids (semen, vaginal fluids). Rare cases of oral transmission have been reported. It is 20 times easier for a man to give a woman HIV. It is also easier to transmit HIV via anal sex versus vaginal sex. HIV is not spread through casual contact or mosquito bites.
Symptoms: Flu-like symptoms occur 3-6 weeks after exposure. Antibodies to HIV appear in the bloodstream about 4-8 weeks after the infection. After a possible HIV exposure, blood tests to confirm the infection are done at time zero, one month and three months. A person has to seroconvert, or in simpler terms, generate the blood-borne markers for HIV that the lab scans for. This takes time.
Cure: None. Expensive cocktails of several different antiviral medications aim to decrease the "viral load" or number of viral particles in the tissues. This helps to preserve long-term immune function and hopefully forestall full-blown AIDS. When the immune system is under less pressure from direct attack by the HIV virus, the host is obviously in better health.
Celebrity Coolness Factor=9.5
Famous Victims: Rock Hudson, Liberace, John Holmes, Arthur Ashe, Freddie Mercury, Magic Johnson
Herpes: aka "The gift that keeps on giving"
Genital Herpes is caused by the Herpes Simples Virus II (HSV II). One out of four adults has it. 80% of those who have it are unaware of it. Herpes victims shed live virus all of the time, even when they don't have the painful burning blisters and ulcerations on their genitals. It's five to twelve times easier for a man to give it to a woman, and transmission is possible even when condoms are used. There are no documented cases of a person catching herpes from a toilet seat or surface such as a brass pole. However, cases of oral herpes (HSV I) transmitted to the genital region via oral sex are increasingly common.
Cure: None. Antiviral medication must be taken at the onset of symptoms, which occur almost monthly in some individuals.
Test: Expensive blood tests are available, but a new finger-stick blood test is available as well.
Celebrity Coolness Factor=3
Famous Victims: Every French girl has it, so that means the chick from Amélie and the No Talents and the nice clean-cut college guy you fucked after he backpacked around Europe.
The most common bacterial STD in the U.S., just edging out gonorrhea. Usually infection is first detected by painful urination, a mucous-like discharge and itching. Diagnosis is made by jamming a swab up the male urethra or swabbing the inside of the vaginal vault. Chlamydia can persist in the female genital tract for months without producing symptoms. Since the infection is "silent" in some women, long-term complications such as impaired fertility are a risk.
Treatment: Usually a round of antibiotics will take care of this, but resistance to current medication is evolving.
Celebrity Coolness Factor=4
Famous Victims: The Girl Next Door
Gonorrhea: aka
"the clap"
This is chlamydia's little brother. While it is the second-most common bacterial STD in the U.S., it ranks above chlamydia in other parts of the world. Symptoms include painful urination, redness around the penis or vagina, and a thick discharge of pus. Like chlamydia, gonorrhea can extend out of the vagina and into the upper female reproductive tract in about 15% of women, leading to rare long-term complications. Gonorrhea can also cause infections in the mouth and throat in those engaging in oral sex with an infected partner.
Diagnosis: Samples are collected as with chlamydia. Most clinics routinely test for each pathogen.
Treatment: Antibiotics can treat Da Clap fairly effectively.
Celebrity Coolness Factor=5
Famous Victims: That guy in that band who works at that bar.
Caused by the same family of microorganisms that cause Lyme disease. Referred to as Spirochetes (spy-ro-keets), these guys are spiral-shaped and propel themselves by rotating like propellers. In the U.S. it is most commonly seen in black and Hispanic men from urban areas.
Syphilis has three stages. The first stage manifests on the genitals as a painless blister that then forms an ulcer. Lymph nodes in the groin area will often swell up, but are also painless. The lack of pain helps differentiate syphilis from herpes. In the later stages of untreated syphilis, nasty rashes occur all over the body. In the third stage, the disease can attack the heart and nervous system.
Diagnosis is made by blood tests or by examining a sample under a special microscope.
Treatment: 1.2 million units of Penicillin G in each butt-cheek.
Celebrity Coolness Factor=2 (due to it being an old school disease)
Famous Victims: Paul Gauguin, Al Capone, Scott Joplin, Nietzsche, Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, Isak Dinesen, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann
Pubic Lice: aka "crabs"
The most benign, but one of the most disturbing. These nasty little fellows infest the pubic hairs and the adult nits are visible as they clamber and scurry about. Itchy blue rashes in the genital area measuring 2-3mm in diameter are common. Crabs are easily spread through infected clothing or sexual contact.
Treatment: The critters are easily killed using a topical cream, but all infected clothing and objects must be sterilized with heat. Clothes and linens must be put in a dryer at 65šC for 30 minutes, and combs, brushes and other objects must be boiled at 65šC for five minutes or soaked in insecticide for one hour.
Celebrity Coolness Factor=7.5
Famous Victims: Questions remain whether or not he's a sufferer, but the Midnight Enquirer reports that Charlton Heston's dying wish was to be reincarnated as, yup, you guessed it, pubic lice.
Here endeth the basic STD guide. Granted, you should know that there are a myriad of other horrible things that are sexually transmitted, some of which are still incurable like Hepatitis B and C and small screaming children. Use some common sense, demand blood tests from a new partner, or at the very least use a condom. Above all, realize that the maxim that says once you fuck somebody, you've fucked everybody they've fucked is true. Hammer that one home the next time you're drunk and lustily eyeballing that person across the quad. But most importantly, don't come bitching to me when your own stupidity gets you into trouble, and stay away from anyone I'm fucking.





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